Raising Siblings Without Rivalry – Part 3 – MBFLP 253-3

Part 3 – Building Friendship Between Your Children

We want our kids to be friends and allies, not rivals and opponents, but that takes some conscious effort. As parents, we can make both the positive and negative efforts to build friendship and avoid tearing it down. How can we prevent harsh feelings between our kids? And better, how can we promote affection and goodwill toward siblings?

Practical Ideas

Remember your kids learn from your example – all the time. If you want to raise kids who are kind, you need to live and speak in kindness at home. They are always watching, even when you don’t think you’re teaching and when they don’t realize they’re learning.

Do your kids really believe there’s justice in your family? Unfair treatment from a parent might be favoritism toward one child – the only girl in a family of boys, the “baby” of the family, or anyone singled out (think about Joseph in the Bible!). It can also be one child who gets blamed for everything – the one who’s “the usual suspect” in every situation. One way we provoke our children (Colossians 3:21) is by jumping to conclusions when there’s trouble between the kids – dig deeper and be sure you’ve dealt with both the reaction and the cause!

Protect their dignity in front of their siblings. We made a point, as much as possible, to correct or discipline children privately, not in front of the family. Don’t give ammunition for teasing, or reason for a child to feel defensive and wary around the family.

Encourage acts of service for siblings – look for ways they can bless one another. Whether it’s offered as an apology for past bad behavior, or an expression of love and kindness just because, cultivate a spirit of thoughtfulness between the kids.

Help them understand and look for others’ point of view.  Some kids are thoughtless about how their behavior hurts or offends others. On the other hand, some kids are quick to assume the worst and take offense where none was given. Teach them that intentions are important, but perception and reception are important too and sometimes a bigger problem than the intention!

Suggest activities they’ll want to do together – on the condition they do them togetherBake cookies, provide projects they cooperate on, look for shared experiences and adventures. Shared memories are the ties that draw them together in later life. Often it’s the smaller things

Passages We Referenced

 

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. – Proverbs 31:26

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another … – Ephesians 4:32

… be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 – what love is, and is not

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. – Proverbs 19:11

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21 (also Ephesians 6:4)

 

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or call our Listener Response Line at (919) 295-0321

 

Part 1 – [ Principles for Preventing Sibling Rivalry ]

Part 2 – [ Making Competition Helpful, Not Hurtful ]

Part 3 –

 

Raising Siblings Without Rivalry – Part 2 – MBFLP 253-2

Part 2 – Making Competition Helpful, Not Harmful

Help your children compete without conflict

When you’ve got more than one child, you are going to have challenges. How can you teach them to play together and enjoy games without the older ones overrunning the younger? We had six boys over a twelve-year span, so we had to figure this out! This episode, we’re talking about some practical ways to make family competition helpful, not harmful.

Games, sports, and competition are Biblical. Remember the Bible often describes our Christian lives as a race (Acts 20:24, 2 Timothy 4:7, Hebrews 12:1). The apostle Paul points out that you only win when you play by the rules and discipline yourself by training (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). We wrote a whole chapter about this in our book Raising Real Menbut we agree with the old theologians – games can be a great way to learn skills and exercise our minds and bodies, if they’re done in the right attitude.

Ways to Make it Work

Recognize that older siblings and younger siblings may not appreciate how different they are. Depending on the child and the range of ages and development, you will have to coach your older, bigger, stronger kids to take it easy on the little siblings. Teenagers can’t react to their five-year-old brother like he was another teen. We made it a matter of honor for our boys to restrain their impulse to hit back when a little one hurt them. On the other hand, younger ones need to be reminded that bigger kids are bigger, and it’s not wise to treat them like they were elementary-age peers, either. The idea that “We’re all equals in the eyes of God and our parents,” is good, but you have to remember that equality of status and equality of value do not mean equal capability or strength!

“Compete against the clock and your own best time.” We found our boys of all ages like to race the clock on math worksheets. The fact that one is doing third-grade work for the first time, and older brother is doing the same practice sheets he did five years ago, doesn’t matter when each one is racing himself.

Give younger kids a handicap. Let the older kids start further back, or give the younger ones a head start. Or let the younger ones choose or answer first, so the older ones don’t jump ahead every turn. Even up the playing field a bit.

Create teams across the ages. This is really effective with board games. The oldest child is paired with the youngest, and the next oldest with the next youngest – for example, the 15-year-old with the 5-year-old, playing against the 12-year-old and 9-year-old. You can also make the rule that the older team member can’t touch the board; he has to talk with his younger teammate and persuade him to move the pieces or play the cards strategically. Often, the youngest children just want to move the pieces, anyway – it’s the older kids who get the grand design of the game!

Part 1 – [ Principles for Preventing Sibling Rivalry ]

Next Segment – Building Friendship Between Your Kids

 

Competition that's healthy, not harmful

Part 2 –

Raising Siblings Without Rivalry – Part 1 – MBFLP 253-1

Dealing with sibling rivalry

One of the questions we hear most often is, “How do you deal with sibling rivalry?” 

We had eight children, and six boys in a row, so we had plenty of competition and challenge to work with! A certain amount is normal and can be accommodated even within the family, but it has to be guided and supervised to keep it from becoming bullying or persecution.

Girls have their own temptations too, especially in emotional and relationship areas; we’ve known women who grew up as “mean girls” in their own family, and struggled with broken relationships decades after they left home.

We didn’t want that in our own family – we wanted our children to grow up to be friends – so we tried to take positive steps to build and protect relationships between our kids. And like Tedd Tripp says, we trained behaviors in the youngest, in the process of teaching the hearts and attitudes of all!

Principles for Preventing Sibling Rivalry

Home Should Be Safe – Nobody should feel like they have to keep their guard up when they cross the family threshold. That goes for spouses, too.

Zero Tolerance for Bullying – or Provoking – Bigger kids can tyrannize young kids, but younger kids can cause lots of trouble for older siblings, too. Proverbs 6:16 says God hates one who causes discord among brothers – so bickering and arguing are important, not just kid stuff.

See the Family as A Team – You won’t score together, if you are fighting one another instead of your enemy or opponent. Encourage your kids to pull together and support each other, especially in front of the rest of the world.

Enjoy Teasing and Wrestling but Don’t Cross the Line! – It’s fun until it’s not, for somebody. If you continue after someone calls “stop” then you’ve become a bully – see “zero tolerance” above.

Recognize How Different Your Kids May Be – and Keep an Eye on Them – Some kids can tolerate teasing and rough-housing, and some can’t. Don’t let either set the tone for everybody, but guide their interaction to head off offenses and hurts. That also goes for the child who’s quick to take offense — that’s no help either.

Raising kids without rivalry at home

NEW!

This week we’re trying a new format – three shorter episodes on the same topic! Look for parts 2 and 3 later this week and let us know what you think

And if you have suggestions, questions, or requests, leave us a message on our Listener Response Line – (919) 295-0321

Next Segment – Making Competition Helpful, not Hurtful

 

 

Raising Kids to Love Their Siblings – MBFLP 240

Is sibling rivalry just something to expect? Is it a foregone conclusion that our kids are going to be simmering with jealousy, rivalry, and unkindness toward one another? Or is there a way to promote friendship and affection between brothers and sisters? We have eight kids, and while they’ve had their moments of conflict, we’ve been blessed to see them grow in genuine love as they’ve matured. How can we foster this sort of relationship in the home?

TRAPS TO AVOID

We know families where the sibling relationships are so broken, some aren’t talking decades after the original hurt feelings. Our college students have remarked how many of their classmates are uninterested in going home for holidays or breaks. Where does the breakdown begin? More importantly, what can we avoid or correct, to preserve and promote better relationships?

  • Bullying or provoking behavior – they’re two forms of the same problem
  • Name calling – and when nicknames are and aren’t cool
  • A culture of sarcasm and irony
  • Battle of the sexes – don’t even start
  • Favoritism – it didn’t end well for Joseph nor Isaac

POSITIVE TRAITS TO PROMOTE

On the other hand, there are many things we can do to cultivate a better sort of family culture.

  • Teach them how to be friends
  • Praise and reward good behavior
  • Make family harmony a matter of honor
  • Provide opportunities to be friends
  • Build memories together
  • Share emotions – rejoice with them that rejoice
  • Cultivate respect – starting with husband and wife of each other, then parent/child and siblings

Remember, and teach your kids, that when the Bible speaks about love, it involves knowing the other person, and choosing to behave in a considerate and kindly manner to them. It’s an active choice, not just a feeling! And that means that we can hold that as a standard of behavior … and know it’s something we can actually do. Trust that when our actions are right, the feelings tend to follow!

UPCOMING EVENTS

February 27-29 – “Teach Them Diligently” Homeschool Convention – Nashville, TN

March 13-14 – LeaderLife Conference (Home Education Association of Virginia) – Williamsburg, VA

Stopping Sibling Squabbling – MBFLP 213


Stopping Sibling Squabbling

If your child has siblings it’s just about certain they’ll have squabbling. Sibling rivalry of one sort or another is unpleasant but normal – the question for us as parents is, “What can I do about it? How can I deal with the bickering and arguments, to make our home a place of peace and harmony?” In this episode we talk about what we’ve learned raising our family of eight strong-willed, opinionated, energetic, competitive kids!

Stopping Sibling Squabbling

Your Family is Meant to Be an Example

The Bible has many passages which suggest that our family relationships are an illustration of spiritual truths. When Paul talks about the relationship of husbands and wives, he concludes, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32) How can we understand the new relationship of fellow believers in the church? By comparing it to the fellowship of parents to children and siblings with one another (1 Timothy 5:1-2). When Jesus is called “a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverbs 18:24) that makes no sense if brotherhood is all about fighting, arguments, and hostility!

Some Practical Guidelines

We’ve established some household rules that are meant to create or maintain a culture of peace and harmony!

  1. No Name Calling – Names are important in the Bible, and if our kids have a complaint with one another, theyr’e not allowed to sling nicknames or taunts at each other. Never – not even using a common nickname that the child doesn’t want. If you always go by Edward, you might consider Teddy an undesirable handle!
  2. No Bullying or Pestering – Bullying is using your greater strength, size, or another advantage, to intimidate and persecute other people. Pestering is using your lesser ability to lay traps for the stronger sibling, then running to Mama as a “victim.”
  3. Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice – And weep with those that weep (Romans 12:16). The Bible tells us to come alongside our brethren in the church and share in their feelings. We encourage the same standard with our children.
  4.  Remember We’re On The Same Team – We don’t let our children get a I-win-you-lose mentality toward their siblings, and we encourage them to see one sibling’s success as a victory for Team Family. Sure, they play games and compete that way, but in day to day life, we encourage them to think in terms of cooperation and collaboration, not trying to “beat” their brother or sister.

A Long Term Project

Just a few days ago, two of our teenagers were having a disagreement. Hal sat them down and gave them a simple challenge – that every day, moment by moment, they were making decisions about how to interact. Are they working to build unity, harmony, and love within the family? Or are their words and actions tearing that down?

It’s important to remember two things. First, that this is a life-long process. We still have to remind, rebuke, coach, and encourage our kids, long after they’re teenagers. It’s not a simple checklist on the fridge that fixes everybody’s attitude in an afternoon!

But secondly, we need to keep close in mind that we homeschoolers are the primary source of our children’s socialization. Sure, they may pick up undesirable words or attitudes from media, group meetings, or friends, but since they spend most of their time with their parents, we have to be honest. When we find a social behavior that we don’t like, they may very well be picking it up from us. If the children are disrespectful to Mom, are they following Dad’s example? If they have a sarcastic tone, are they imitating Mom? We need to live our own lives in our family to be a pattern for our kids. The family life they see around their dinner table every day is very likely to be the family life our grandchildren experience one day!

RESOURCES WE MENTIONED

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Interested in having Hal or Melanie speak at your event? CLICK HERE for information!

Come Away Weekend – our marriage retreat and giveaway – Flat Rock, NC – October 19-21

Special Needs Conference for Gifted and Struggling Learners – Orlando, FL – November 16-17

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

 

 

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)


Best of HIRL Holiday Series: What To Do About Sibling Relationships?

Free homeschool podcast discussing sibling rivalry.We received a message on the HomeschoolingIRL Facebook page that said, “Please, please, please do an episode on siblings fighting. Thanks!”

Sibling relationships. Sibling rivalries. Siblings fighting. We put out the question to our listeners and they responded with story after story of siblings who know how to tease, fight and use sarcasm like professionals.

On this episode, we dig into the topic of parenting through sibling relationships in your homeschool. Fletch and Kendra open up about their own family and share practical advice for handling those tricky, sticky moments when brothers and sisters want to be anything but best friends. We also announce our coffee contest winner and we each answer the question: “What Ben/Jerry’s ice cream flavor would you create and what would you call it?”

 

Music clips used on this show:

“George Street Shuffle” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Three Little Birds, Ziggy Marley (Click on link to purchase)

Pick A Little/Talk A Little, The Music Man (Click on link to purchase)

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

 

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)


MBFLP 92 – Family Unity

MBFLP - Family Unity

If sibling rivalry is the negative side of family relationships (see previous episode!), family unity is the positive! The Bible uses so many illustrations of family life to describe our relationship to God and to each other in the church, it’s worth the work to build those positive, joyful relationships at home. This episode, we’ll share concrete examples of things we found helpful keeping a family of ten heading the right direction (and all together).

MBFLP 91 – Sibling Rivalry

MBFLP-2015-08-10 Sibling Rivalry - pixabay by blickpixel

If there are siblings in the house, you’ve got to be worried about sibling rivalry. It’s not just an irritation – the Bible gives example after example where siblings and their jealousies had disastrous consequences! But as a practical matter, how can we head off sibling rivalry at home … or respond to it when it’s already a fact? Hal and Melanie have eight children, six of them boys, and they’ve learned some useful ways to handle “trouble between brothers” — join us!

RESOURCES YOU MIGHT APPRECIATE

“How To Fight So You Both Win” – This workshop helps you sort out what arguments are truly not worth having, and then how you can work out disagreements so that both sides leave satisfied. Downloadable mp3 – CLICK HERE.

My Beloved and My Friend by Hal and Melanie Young. We devoted a whole chapter in our marriage book to resolving conflicts in a Godly way … and these principles work for children as well a grown-ups. Available in print, ebook, and audiobook formats. CLICK HERE.

MBFLP 90 – Boys and Noise

Got boys? Then probably, you’ve got noise! This week we turn to a reader’s question about how to manage the volume (and tone!) of her energetic houseful of boys … four of them, eight and under. We’ve been there, and we’ll talk about the difference between simple boyishness and the things that actually need discipline, how to distinguish between fun and bullying, and more — join us!

What To Do About Sibling Relationships? – HIRL Episode 53

Free homeschool podcast discussing sibling rivalry.We received a message on the HomeschoolingIRL Facebook page that said, “Please, please, please do an episode on siblings fighting. Thanks!”

Sibling relationships. Sibling rivalries. Siblings fighting. We put out the question to our listeners and they responded with story after story of siblings who know how to tease, fight and use sarcasm like professionals.

On this episode, we dig into the topic of parenting through sibling relationships in your homeschool. Fletch and Kendra open up about their own family and share practical advice for handling those tricky, sticky moments when brothers and sisters want to be anything but best friends. We also announce our coffee contest winner and we each answer the question: “What Ben/Jerry’s ice cream flavor would you create and what would you call it?”

 

Timeline
1:00 – Introduction
2:40 – Letter from Listener 1
5:04 – Letter from Listener 2
7:04 – Sibling rivalry intro
12:00 – Siblings who are Introverts/Extroverts
14:16 – Two boys battling all the time
18:17 – Coffee Contest Winner/Bonus Question for Fletch/Kendra
23:45 – Siblings fighting for attention
25:00 – Creating space for your kids
26:00 – Sarcasm among siblings
27:30 – Boys fighting
29:39 – Help me! I’m nagging
33:35 – Closing thoughts

SHOW NOTES

Our Sponsor:

Please visit our coffee sponsor: Caroline’s Coffee for 10% off any order.

Music clips used on this show:

“George Street Shuffle” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Three Little Birds, Ziggy Marley (Click on link to purchase)

Pick A Little/Talk A Little, The Music Man (Click on link to purchase)


Join Fletch (from theMangoTimes) and Kendra (from Preschoolers and Peace and KendraFletcher.com) for the HomeschoolingIRL podcast every week as they interview guests and talk through some of the goofiness they have experienced in nearly two decades of Homeschooling In Real Life.